On May 9, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) claimed responsibility for the assassination of seven officers of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in southern Syria on May 6. The HTS-linked news agency Iba’a even released a photo of the attack on the mini van, which was carrying the SAA officers.
Syrian pro-government activists previously claimed that the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad had carried out the attack and said that the victims had beeen the operators of the S-200 air defense battery, which shot down the Israeli F-16 on February 10. However, these claims were proven to be false.
Local observers view еру HTS attack as a dangerous breach of the Russian-American ceasefire agreement, which was implemented in southern Syria in 2017. According to the observers, the attack proves that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is allowing HTS to grow and operate in southern Syria.
Some pro-government activist argued that the assassination of the SAA officers will justify a possible large scale military operation in the eastern Daraa countryside by the SAA and its allies later this year. Previously, many sources said that the SAA will not be able to launch any attack in Daraa governorate because of the successful ceasefire there.